Ball State University junior Isabelle Behrman has been awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, one of America’s most prestigious scholarships for undergraduates who intend to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research. 

Ms. Behrman will receive $7,500 toward her educational expenses next year. She is majoring in Chemistry (with an American Chemical Society concentration) and Spanish.

After pursuing a doctorate in molecular engineering or material science and engineering, she plans to launch a research career aimed at creating environmentally friendly and biodegradable materials.  Specifically, she hopes to work on developing new packaging materials to address problems of plastic creation and waste.

At Ball State, Ms. Behrman has been working in the lab of Dr. Robert Sammelson—chair of the University’s Department of Chemistry—since the end of her freshman year. In Dr. Sammelson’s lab, Ms. Behrman has been helping conduct research on a newly developed acid. 

“Over the past two years, Dr. Sammelson has served as a mentor and invited me to work with him on research opportunities,” Ms. Behrman said. “He has been extremely influential in my success, nominating me for the Ball State Top 100 Students and writing a letter of recommendation for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.”

Ms. Behrman is a Muncie, Ind., native and a graduate of the Indiana Academy for Sciences, Mathematics, and Humanities. She is a member of Ball State’s women’s tennis team. Ms. Behrman also serves as a supplemental instructor in Organic Chemistry. Selected this year as one of Ball State’s Top 2 Students in the University’s inaugural Top 100 Student Awards program, Ms. Behrman anticipates completing her undergraduate degree in three years. 

Ms. Behrman is the 13th Ball State student to receive the Goldwater Scholarship, while nine others have received honorable mention. Many of these graduates have gone on to win other prestigious scholarships and establish impressive careers in STEM research. 

Established in 1986 by the U.S. Congress, The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation serves as a tribute to the late Barry Goldwater, a military veteran and U.S. Senator from Arizona.